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Deaflympics: International Games for the Deaf

  • Synopsis: Last Updated: 2017-05-15 - Information on the Deaflympics the International Games competition for the Deaf sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee

Definition: Deaflympics

The Deaflympics (previously called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf) are an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned event at which deaf athletes compete at an elite level. However, unlike the athletes in other IOC-sanctioned events (i.e., the Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Special Olympics), the Deaflympians cannot be guided by sounds (i.e., the starter's guns, bullhorn commands or referee whistles). The games have been organized by the Comite International des Sports des Sourds (CISS, "The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf") since the first event.

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What are the Deaflympics?

The Deaflympics are more than just the world's second oldest multiple sports games after the Olympics. They are also among the world's fastest growing sports events.

The Deaflympics are held every 4 years.

Previously called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf, the Deaflympics are an IOC-sanctioned event at which Deaf athletes compete at an elite level. The event was last held in Melbourne, Australia, in 2005, and attracted over 3,000 competitors.

The biggest difference between the Deaflympics, Olympics, Paralympics, and other main sporting events is the competitors cannot start a race with a bell, whistle, bullhorn or cannot hear a referee call the play.

Formal international competition in deaf sport began with the 1924 Paris Silent Games, organized by the Comite International des Sports des Sourds, CISS (The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf). These games evolved into the modern Deaflympics, governed by the CISS. The CISS maintains separate games for deaf athletes based on their numbers, their special communication needs on the sports field, and the social interaction that is a vital part of sports.

The games are built on 80 years of tradition. Organized since 1924 by the Comite International des Sports des Sourds, CISS (The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf), the first Summer Deaflympics were held in Paris.

Winter Deaflympics were added in 1949. The Summer and Winter Deaflympics are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, IOC.

To qualify for the games, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 db in their "better ear". Hearing aids, cochlear implants and the like are not allowed to be used in competition, to place all athletes on the same level.

Deaflympic Dates and Locations:
YearDatesLocation
2009 - Summer5 Sep - 15 SepTaipei, Taiwan
2011 - Winter10 Feb - 20 FebHigh Tatras (Vysoke Tatry) Slovakia
2013 - Summer31 Jul - 13 AugAthens Greece
2015 - Winter25 March - 5 AprilKhanty-Mansiysk, Russia
2017 - Summer18 - 30 JulySamsun, Turkey
2019 - WinterTorino, Italy

 

Summer and Winter Deaflympics Programs
Summer Deaflympics Sports
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Bowling
Cycling Road
Football
Handball
Judo
Karate
Orienteering
Shooting
Swimming
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Volleyball
Water Polo
Wrestling Freestyle
Wrestling Greco-Roman
Winter Deaflympics Sports
Alpine Skiing
Cross Country Skiing
Curling
Ice Hockey
Snowboard

During the countdown for the 2009 Taipei event Jackie Chan, (actor), sung the 2009 Deaflympics theme song "Power in Me" and told the crowd about an accident in Yugoslavia which left him with decreased hearing in one ear. He encouraged everyone to keep trying their best and never to give up in order to succeed.

Unlike other games for athletes with disabilities, which are all directed by non-disabled officials, the Deaflympics are run by deaf people for deaf athletes.

Quick Facts: Deaflympic Host Nations

To date, the Deaflympic Games have been hosted by 36 cities in 21 countries, but by cities outside Europe on only five occasions (Washington D.C. 1965, Los Angeles 1985, Christchurch 1989, Melbourne 2005 and Taipei 2009). The last summer games was held in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2013, and the next scheduled winter games will be in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia in 2015.



Latest Deaflympics Publications

  1. Deaflympics 2013 - UK Deaf Sport Calls for Support
  2. 2013 Deaflympics: Sofia, Bulgaria 26 July to 4 August
  3. Athens Deaflympics 2013 - Lack of Support
  4. Deaflympics - ICSD Update
  5. Slovakia Winter Deaflympics Officially Declared Canceled


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